Monthly Archives: July 2016

Counting Our Blessings

I was once told that I would outlive several horses, and a host of dogs. It is a fact of life that different species have longer or shorter lifespans. A dear friend and mentor recently experienced the loss of a really fine old horse. He was a lesson horse, on whom I did my first flying changes among other things. He was also the horse that she earned her silver dressage metal on. He will be missed by many, her students, her family and friends. But we will move on, we will remember him and we will honor him in our work with young horses and young riders. He will be in our minds and the lessons we learned on him and from him will be valued. While this has a sad overtone, it is necessary that we experience these times of loss to perhaps make us more aware of the moments that we share with each other and with our critters. Maybe we will be a bit gentler and more appreciative sometimes as we realize that as these moments of togetherness passed by, there may not be another, so we cherish and savor the times we share. Maybe we can slow down a little, and we can take time to just hang out with no specific purpose, only a rub of a wither, or gifting a carrot or horse cookie. Then we might even try hanging out with each other, and enjoy our time together.

“Time is an endless succession of nows”

say the existentialists. So we need to laugh more, love more, dance more, and take things a touch less seriously. After all life is only a temporary condition. Smile, it improves your face value, and learn a new joke every day “ A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says “so, why the long face?’”

See you next week.

How to Keep Cool with Gazpacho

Summertime is gazpacho time! What is gazpacho you say? Well, it is a Spanish invention to use up all those homegrown tomatoes you can’t give away before they go bad, and it’s a cool alternative to slaving over a hot stove! Plus, if your laundry detergent is doing the same thing to your clothes as mine (all my clothes are shrinking!) you are looking for reduced calorie answers!  It’s cold tomato soup.

It probably is better to peel the tomatoes, by dropping them in boiling water for a minute to slip their skins off the easy way. Then with your blender grind up tomatoes, green bell peppers, onions, garlic, cucumbers, olive oil and ice water with salt. I use about 3 to 5 tomatoes, half an onion, a peeled seeded cucumber, a couple cloves of garlic and one green bell pepper. Then drizzle in a few tablespoons of olive oil, a cup of ice cold water, and salt to taste. Put the purée in the fridge for an hour or so, then when you come in from sweating and the barn, pour a cup, sit down in your favorite rocking chair in the breeze on the porch and sip it. You will be rejuvenated! Play around and experiment with the recipe, make it your own.

Why the Cavalrymen were so Tough

When we went to Fort Davis, to ride in 4 July parade, we ride in Costume representing 1874, the last heyday of the fort, during the Apache Indian campaign. At that time the 10th cavalry, “buffalo soldiers. “ were billeted there. The soldiers were African-Americans, who had earned great respect from their white officers, as well as from the Apaches whom they were attempting to relocate to reservation lands. The ladies in the parade ride side saddle, representing 19th century officer’s wives, on their gaited (Peruvian) horses. Meanwhile, yours truly was asked to ride in the color guard as a cavalry non-commissioned officer. The good news is that since fort Davis is a Mile High city, the temperature on 4 July is way below the Texas average for the day. This is good news why? Because the uniform of 19th-century cavalry is heavy wool! But that’s not all. The saddle is a McClellan( I think it should actually be called Machiavellian.)  I have enormous sympathy for the masses of fine men who spent hours a day subjecting their backsides to this torture device! After only a few hours I had a firm grasp of the reason for cavalry sergeants being referred to as “hard asses! “

Then to top it off, I’m wearing a helmet which is of the design of the German hussar, which clamps the head in a vice, and I am carrying a sword of 10 pounds (cavalry saber) in one hand, while managing a nervous parade horse with the other. If I didn’t already have a healthy respect for the men who wear the uniform in defense of our country, I would certainly have it by now. Long before facing any combat, they are suffering inhumane clothing, equipment, and saddles. It reminds me of the saying “keep your eye on a star, your ear to the ground, and your nose to the grindstone… Now try to work in that position!”

Old Fashioned Roundups in Nebraska

From Denver we will go to Imperial, Nebraska with friends. There, cattle and corn are the real world. We talked with a gal last night who is a neighbor of our friends. She and her husband farm and ranch a little ways east of imperial. She was surprised to find that we raise Corriente cattle, because they do also. We talked about how wonderful they are, and how easy they are to manage! They have even been using some for beef, and she says the Angus crosses are delicious. So now, no longer are they only ropers and sport cattle, but Corrientes could be the next low-cholesterol beef! We also shared stories about how we do the cow work at our ranch.  It turns out that we are not the only ones who have returned to The old-fashioned “rope and drag to the fire ” roundup. She said they have no trouble getting neighbors to gather for old time roundups, and that part of Nebraska is loaded with good ropers. The work is easier on the cattle, good exercise for the horses, and a heck of a lot more fun, to say nothing of the fact that it’s cheaper! Sometimes it’s better to slow down and smell the cow poop!